Sunday, 30 December 2012
Saturday, 29 December 2012
Saturday, 22 December 2012
Three days before Christmas Day and we are ready. The house is decorated, everybody is at home and the grocery shopping is done.
This is the third year that we have brought our Christmas tree in from the garden for the festive period. It is a little oddly shaped now as it has grown unevenly but it is inexpensive and eco-friendly to re-use the same tree and I quite like its quirky shape.
I have decorated the house with evergreens from the garden or picked during my walks, I like to bring a little of the outside into the house at this time of year. It isn't glittery, glitzy or perfectly styled but its warm and cosy which is a good holiday feeling.
Have a very Happy Christmas.
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
I think of the winter solstice as a pause. The days have been getting shorter since June and from Friday onwards they will be lengthening again. For a few weeks around the solstice the differences in day length are small, no rapid changes, a slowing down, mirroring the slowing down in the natural world around us, a pause.
The photograph below is my front garden. Where you can see bare soil there will be celandines, daffodils, fritillaries and tulips in the spring, followed by foxgloves, verbena, a hollyhock in summer and in autumn Japanese anemones. The plum tree will blossom and hopefully bear fruit and the hedge will grow and need regular clipping. All that potential is in the small patch of earth but at the moment it is quiet and still, a pause.
There is so much going on in our busy hectic world at the moment, so much to think about and absorb that it is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the news, the problems and the fast pace of life. Like the natural world, perhaps we need to slow down, reflect and recharge, pause, before moving on again.
Thursday, 13 December 2012
Its has been cold, at least its been cold for here. Yesterday morning it was -5.5ºC (22.1ºF). The frost on the twigs, leaves and cobwebs looked like little sharp needles.
I rushed outside to take some pictures before they disappeared but I needn't have hurried as the temperature stayed below freezing all day.
It has been quiet as well as cold and with no breeze everything has been very still. Just over a week to go until the shortest day, the winter solstice this year is 11:11am on Friday 21st December (GMT).
When the boys were young, this time of year was always so busy with Christmas and end of term activities, now they are grown I can enjoy the quietness of the season.
I remember when we had chickens, how late they would emerge from their hen house and how early they retired for the night during these short days. Most animals slow down at this time of year when the temperatures are cold and the daylight reduced. I wonder if we should follow their example instead of trying to live our lives at the same pace all year round regardless of the season.
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Snawheid is finished but as yet without the bobble. The pattern calls for an oversized snowball-like bobble but I'm not sure. When I was little I loved making pom-poms with two rings of card and I'm tempted to make one now.
I was intending to start the Rams and Yowes blanket but then realised didn't have a 60cm circular in the right size. I have one on order from GetKnitted who deliver very promptly so that should be started later this week.
In the meantime, I have started another hat. This time it is Everglade by Woolly Wormhead. I've made this pattern before but with the weather forecast predicting a very cold winter (and it is cold here today) you can never have too many hats!
Sunday, 9 December 2012
Just under two weeks until the shortest day and the sun is low in the sky making some very long shadows.
Photographers call the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset the "golden hours" and yesterday that seemed to be particularly true as everything seemed to take on a golden glow.
Some of the oak trees have lost all their leaves while others seem to have a few still clinging on.
The sunlight lit up the dried bracken at the base of this hedge.
It was a good afternoon to be out taking photographs
as the sun slowly moved towards the horizon.
Saturday, 1 December 2012
I have finished my Fantail Lace Shawl but the weather hasn't been suitable for outdoor photography so these photographs are from a few weeks ago when it was a work in progress.
My current knitting project is also purple, I am knitting Snawheid using some wool left over from my Fair Isle waistcoat.
The snowflake pattern is emerging now and knitting fair isle again is good practice for my next project using wool I bought from Jamieson and Smith when I was on holiday in Shetland.
I am going to knit the Rams and Yows blanket/shawl also by Kate Davies. I like the natural colours of the wool used in the pattern and I am looking forward to starting but I am trying to finish off some smaller items first. It is a large project for me, I will certainly have enough knitting to keep me occupied over Christmas and well into the New Year.
Monday, 19 November 2012
Wovember isn't recognised as a word by spell checker but perhaps in the future it might be. It is in its second year and celebrates all things wool related.
Last year the focus was on the labelling of clothes that were made of wool blended with other fibres or in some cases garments that contained no wool at all but were described as wool or woollen. I don't know whether it is my imagination or perhaps wishful thinking but it seems that this is happening less now. I have noticed more garments labelled wool-blend or contains wool.
This year the focus is on the process of growing the wool from looking after lambs and sheep, through shearing and then processing the fleece into wool for knitting, weaving etc.
There are lots of articles on the Wovember blog. I particularly like the post about the Newbury Coat. Newbury is near here and last year I watched the sheep being shorn and saw all the spinners working away in the Corn Exchange. So many different skills and processes making the coat in just over 14 hours from the start of sheep shearing.
Wool is often considered to be expensive compared to artificial fibres but considering all the stages it goes through, it is very good value for money. In addition, when it is looked after carefully wool lasts for a very long time, a well loved hand-knitted jumper can be worn for years and years - or is that just me! I easily feel cold in the winter so I am a big fan of all things woollen. The Wovember badge in the side bar links to the Wovember blog.
The photographs in this post were taken on my recent trip to Shetland. I did try take some pictures of the different coloured sheep that produce fleece and wool of wonderful soft natural colours but these sheep were camera shy, not their best view.
The ones in the photograph below were happy to pose for the camera.